Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt calls for investment in safer care

The Telegraph has reported that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will call for hospital managers to invest in safe care, following a report published by Frontier Economics, commissioned by the Department of Health, which found that the costs of preventable poor care ranged from £1 billon to £2.5 billion annually. It also found that 800,000 patients – one in 20 of all admitted to hospital – suffered harm that could have been avoided.

According to the study, urinary tract infections caused by catheters resulted in an average of 10 extra days in bed, at a cost of £2,523 per patient. This amounts of a total cost to the NHS of £67m a year – or the equivalent of pay for 1,300 nurses.

Hunt is due to give a speech to staff at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where he will call for hospital managers to invest in safe care. He is expected to say that “if you’re short on money, poor care is about the most wasteful and expensive thing you can do”, adding that he wanted “every director of every hospital Trust to understand the impact this harm is having not just on their patients, but also on their finances”. He will say that patient experience/safety and finances were “two sides of the same coin”.

The speech will follow the launch of a new poster campaign to warn staff of the costs of basic errors.